Dissident republicans guilty of child abuse, says Police Federation

A police vehicle on Fahan Street in Londonderry after it was petrol bombed as disorder has flared in the city for a sixth successive night. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
A police vehicle on Fahan Street in Londonderry after it was petrol bombed as disorder has flared in the city for a sixth successive night. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The Police Federation, the body that represents rank and file PSNI officers, has described dissident republicans involved in orchestrating public disorder in Londonderry as a “pitiless, heartless bunch of cowards”.

Federation chairman Mark Lindsay said those encouraging children and young people to riot in the Bogside are guilty of child abuse, and he called on the community to take back the streets from the “gangsters”.

“Six shots from an automatic weapon, followed by a total of four viable devices aimed at officers, show how there is a planned, vicious and orchestrated plan by terrorists whose sole aim is to murder the people I represent,” he said.

“Only through the professionalism and courage of our men and women was a tragedy averted.

“In the teeth of such attacks, our officers continued to safeguard people and maintain the rule of law, and that is the tribute to their focused and unwavering dedication and determination.

“The terrorists who skulk in the shadows get children - some no older than 12 - to do their dirty work by firing petrol bombs, bricks and bottles at police lines.

“Once the police engage, the bomber and gunman take control and they really don’t care who gets in the way or who is hurt in their indiscriminate attacks.

“This is child abuse. Young, vulnerable kids are encouraged to riot and cause mayhem so that the bomber and gunman can gain a better vantage position.

“It is sickening what they are doing.”

• Read related story - Police come under ‘prolonged and sustained attack’ as trouble continues in Bogside